Don’t Say Unicorn: Foreau’s Goutte d’Or
Staff Picks: Versatile Spring Whites
New Wines from Goodfellow!
Three Spanish Gems from De Maison Selections
Top Picks from the Best Collection of Rosé
A 95 Point Brunello Value: Caparzo’s Classic
Corimbo Returns (Get Excited)
Restraint in the Southern Rhone? Montfaucon Shows It
The Crown Jewel of the Amity Hills
The Best Tignanello in Two Decades?
Jeb Dunnuck-Wine Advocate 97 points “There are 533 cases of the 2014 Grenache God Only Knows Armada Vineyard, and as always, it’s an unknown blend that’s dominated by Grenache (reportedly from vine cuttings from Rayas). It’s fermented with just about 100% whole clusters in concrete and aged mostly in neutral puncheons and foudre, with one concrete egg. A bigger, richer wine than the No Girls cuvee, this beauty packs a punch in its black cherry, reduced strawberry, herbes de Provence and crushed violet aromas and flavors. With full-bodied richness, a supple, elegant style and fine tannin, this singular beauty will benefit from a year or three of cellaring and keep for 10-15 years.”
Cayuse Vineyards Wallah Wallah Special Series (#6) Syrah, Walla Walla Valley2014 1.5L ($319.95) $279 special, 1 magnum in stock now
Wine Advocate 97 points “Only released in special vintages, as well as only in magnum, the 2014 Syrah Wallah Wallah Special #6 is about as Northern Rhône as it gets. More rounded, sexy and voluptuous than the other cuvees, with full-bodied richness and silky tannin, it reminds me of the Burgundian style of wine from Jean-Louis Chave. Violets, crushed rocks, graphite, smoked earth and beautiful black fruit notes emerge from this sensual, elegant, ethereally textured beauty. It might be my favorite Special cuvee to date. It’s already beautiful, but it will keep for two decades or more.”
Jeb Dunnuck – Rhone Report 95-97+ points “A vintage compared to 2010 by Laurence, the 2015 Châteauneuf-du-Pape looks to be one of the big successes in the vintage. Possessing a ripe, rounded, sexy style backed up by solid density and concentration, it offers classic Pegau notes of currants, pepper, and cured meats. Big, rich, concentrated and beautifully textured, it offers a rare depth of fruit and richness in the vintage.”
Josh Raynolds 93-95 points “Vivid ruby. An exotically perfumed bouquet evokes ripe raspberry, cherry and garrigue, while a suave floral element expands with air. Fleshy, seamless and broad on the palate, offering intense black raspberry and fruitcake flavors that are braced and lifted by a spine of juicy acidity. The floral note builds as the wine opens up and carries through the sweet, strikingly long finish, which leaves behind red fruit liqueur and licorice notes.”
Wine Advocate 93-95 points “The 2015 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Réservée is beauty, and about as classic an expression of this estate as I can recall. Blackcurrants, peppery herbs, roasted meats and garrigue all emerge from this medium to full-bodied, balanced, nicely concentrated 2015 that has ripe tannin and a great finish. It’s not on par with the 2010, 2009 or 2003, but it should surpass the 2012 and have two decades or more of longevity.”
Bodegas Altos de Torona, Rias Baixas 2016 750ML ($24.95) $19 special
Decanter 95 points “Elegant and fragrant wine. Attractive, peachy nose with floral and herbal notes. Spritzy, citrus palate with flavours of peaches and lychees. Creamy texture with great acidity and a long length.”
Wine Enthusiast 97 points “Cellar Selection–This is an architectural wine, very classical in its structure like so many of the top wines of 2010. It’s powered by ripe tannins and beautiful black currant fruits. While the wine is gorgeously ripe, it also has a powerful dark and structured character. For long-term aging.”
James Suckling 96 points “Sure pure fruit to this red with a minerality and floral undertone. You can smell the warm stones. Full body, with a beautiful depth of fruit and velvety tannins. Dense and balanced. Layered with a light salty and meaty character as well. Great length. Mostly Cabernet Sauvignon. Try in 2017.”
Foreau’s Goutte d’Or Arrives Tomorrow
At Fantasy Pricing
This is Foreau’s most prized wine, made from a careful selection of grapes and only in the choicest years. To that latter point, we’re talking about four releases, ever (in 94 years). It makes Cuvee Constance look positively mass market and Neal Rosenthal describes it as “a beacon of perfection.” It’s one of those bottles that’s both rare, expensive and somehow underpriced compared to its peer group.
We sold through our initial allocation a while back but scored a little more at a crazy deal. We’re bringing it back at $80 per bottle less than the old price—a screaming deal and one we never thought we’d see. This is a wine to treasure, age and pass down to future generations, if you have the patience. Once this is gone, though, it might be another 20 years before the next release.
Philippe Foreau Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Moelleux ‘Goutte d’Or’, Loire 2011 750ML ($299.95) Was $269, $189 pre-arrival special
VinopolNote: Foreau’s rare top bottling – a transcendent experience. 230g/L RS
Importer note “While the Moelleux Reserve is produced only a few times a decade, the Goutte d’Or is produced only a few times a century. Made only under the choicest conditions, the Goutte d’Or is a beacon of perfection. In the 94 years that the Foreau family have been producing wine, there have been only four vintages with conditions favorable enough to produce this high-water mark.”
The next best price is $217.50
The average price is $275
All Purpose Whites for Warm Weather
Friulano is the go-to white for casual drinking in Friuli, northeast of Venice. The grape has a really pretty citrusy quality that pairs with a touch of thyme-like herbalness and good white fruit as the backbone. Venica’s version is normally too expensive to fall into this category, but we got a great deal on it, so stock up while you can.
Venica & Venica Friulano Collio, Friuli-Venezia Giulia 2016 750ML ($29.95) $17 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
The next best price is $28.99
Domaine Bott-Geyl Metiss, Alsace 2015 750ML ($19.95) $16 special, 28 bottles in stock now
Ok, these next two are a pair—just fizzy enough whites from Spain. One bright and bracing (the Ameztoi Txakolina, pronounced cha-koh-leen-ah if you’ve been wondering) the other a bit fruitier and more floral (the Avinyo). Both are super fresh, crisp and bubbly enough that they’re compulsively drinkable. Buy at least one more bottle than you think you need. Right, and now one more.
Avinyo Blanc Vi d’Agulla – Petillant, Penedes 2017 750ML ($17.95) $14 special, 23 bottles in stock now
Importer note “Petillant is a vi d’agulla, the Catalan name for prickly wine. This vibrant and refreshing wine is the traditional summertime quaffer of the Penedès region of Catalonia, and it’s perfect for drinking out of a porrón. Tasting Notes: Bright honeysuckle and almond on the nose. Bracingly dry on the palate, with flavors of lemon peel and a faint brininess.”
Importer note “In the traditional style of txakolina from Getaria, this light and crisp wine is bottled with a little bit of residual carbon dioxide to give it its signature natural spritz. Tasting Notes: Bright briny sea salt combined with limey fruits. Fresh and eminently quaffable, tastes like joy and springtime. Vinification: This 100% hondarribi zuri txakolina is fermented with indigenous yeasts in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks.”
Edmunds St. John Heart of Gold, El Dorado 2017 750ML ($24.95) $19.75 special, 36 bottles in stock now
Winemaker’s note “Palest gold. Fresh, nervous nose, of ginger and stone. Very lively and fresh in the mouth, with considerable textural depth, and richness to the lengthy finish. Heart Of Gold has now reached its 10th Birthday, and the 2017 may well turn out to be the best one ever. The 2017 growing season was preceded by the wettest winter in California history, and with all that water in the ground, the vines were able to cruise through some significant heat-spikes in Summer and early Fall, without any real dehydration or heat-stress. Harvest was just a bit later in ’17 than it had been during the previous four seasons marked by severe drought. When the grapes were picked they were in beautiful condition, with modest sugar concentration, healthy acidity, and plenty of flavor. 56% Vermentino, 44% Grenache Blanc.”
Two New Releases from Goodfellow
We’re also receiving the new vintage (2016) of the Willamette Valley Chardonnay, one of the best values in Oregon white wine. It’s a blend of Whistling Ridge and Durant vineyard fruit and shows a snappier, more mineral driven personality compared to the (also excellent) 2014 and 2015 editions. To our palates, it’s the best version he’s made and it also happens to be under $20 (something that couldn’t be said about the last two iterations). Stock up now—it’s great but it’ll drink well for 5+ years, easily.
Goodfellow Family Cellars Chardonnay, Willamette Valley 2016 750ML ($21.95) $19 pre-arrival special
Winery Note “This is the perfect introduction to Goodfellow Chardonnay. Our Chardonnay spends 21 months on the lees in neutral and new French oak puncheons. The Willamette Valley bottling is bright and crisp, with the texture and complexity that comes with extended elevage. Vineyard sources: Whistling Ridge & Durant Vineyards.”
Goodfellow Family Cellars Pinot Gris Ramato, Oregon 2017 750ML ($24.95) $20.90 pre-arrival special
VinopolNote: This crisp wine is named for the onion skin color that Pinot Gris takes on with just a little skin contact. The result is a wine that drinks like a delicious rosé, but with a year or two in bottle will develop a bit more texture and richness like a skin-contact white. Super tasty and always a favorite.
From De Maison’s Awesome Portfolio
We also have two gems from Costers del Priorat. If you have felt that the wines from Priorat are too modern, glossy and international in style, these are two to check out. The white reminds us of an elegantly constructed white Rhone in the interplay between rich fruit and salty minerality. The red shows the broad shoulders you’d expect from Priorat, but with an appealing earthy funk to balance out all the fruit. These are wines to pay attention to.
Bodegas Gerardo Mendez Do Ferreiro Cepas Vellas, Rias Baixas 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Importer Note “This special albariño from Do Ferreiro is sourced from vines in the Salnes Valley that are over 200 years old. Tasting Notes: Intense citrus and ripe tropical fruit on the nose with delicate white floral notes in the background with elegant and intense saline minerality. Broad and long, dense and silky, with the fruity and floral aromas along with stone fruit. Palate has notes of balsamic with good acidity, and freshness; great balance. This will be a very long-lived vintage.”
Importer note “Blanc de Pissarres is derived from the word “pizarra” which is “slate” in Spanish. Made in small quantities, this white wine is sourced from selected parcels in the vineyards of Sant Martí and Mas Alsera. It is a blend of three local varieties: Garnacha Blanca, Macabeo, and Pedro Ximénez. Vinification Grapes are de-stemmed and crushed with 10 days of skin contact before fermentation in stainless steel tanks. Finished in 1,000L foudres.Tasting Notes: The nose shows the marked personality of the Priorat’s White Grenache, with its characteristic notes of white flowers, herbs and fruit skin. The palate is unctuous, with citrus and smoky flavours. The finish is very persistent and offers a surprising and lovely sweet touch. It is the warm and charming footprint of the Pedro Ximenez variety, in interesting balance with a fresh and genuine minerality.”
Importer note “Pissarres is derived from the word “pizarra” which is “slate” in Spanish. This wine is a blend of grapes from Mas Alsera in Torroja del Priorat and Sant Martí in Bellmunt, Costera del Priorat’s flagship wine encompasses both the rugged center of Priorat as well as the region’s warm south. Vinification: A mix of de-stemmed and whole-cluster grapes are fermented with indigenous yeast in cement vats. The wine is then aged 12 months in 2,300L and 3,000L Slovenian oak barrels and amphoras.”
Chateau Simone Palette Rose, Provence 2016 1.5L ($139.95) $119 pre-arrival special
“The Château Simone Rosé is a wine that belies the notion that rosés are simple wines to be drunk up young. We have indulged ourselves with 10-year old Château Simone Rosé and have marveled at the tenacity, vibrancy and complexity of this very serious wine. The blend is identical to the rouge: 45% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, 5% Cinsault, 20% Syrah, Castet, Manosquin, Carignan, Muscat Noir & Blanc. Aged in barrel, it is powerful and age-worthy with a steely character and a grey-tinted aura to the faded rose-petal robe.”–Importer Notes
Importer note “Made entirely from estate fruit in 2017, “Chateau” is primarily Cinsault, with increasingly smaller amounts of Grenache, Mourvedre, Tibouren, and Syrah. This is a higher-toned, more floral, more filigree wine than its brother above, with subtle herbal notes framing clean, lifted fruit on the nose. Though equally as dense—and perhaps more penetrating due to its more overt mineral character—it is no richer than the “Commanderie,” and it expresses the vintage’s firm tension with elegance.”
Peyrassol Cotes de Provence ‘Commanderie de Peyrassol’ Rose, Provence 2017 1.5L ($61.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Importer note “As always, the 2017 version of the workhorse of the Peyrassol cellar is built on the backs of Cinsault and Grenache, with Syrah, Rolle, Ugni Blanc, and Clairette playing minor supporting roles. Pouring a classic silvery salmon color, the fruit is pitched toward red: ripe strawberry, red apple, stony cherry. The dense yet tightly focused palate shows the natural concentration of the vintage, and the finish is prolonged by a mouthwatering, very gently bitter sensation of tannin.”
A 95 Point Brunello Value
Although we think of Carpazo as a historic producer because of their modern success, the modern vineyard wasn’t established until the 1960’s and then passed from owner to owner until 1998, when Elisabetta Gnudi Angelini purchased the struggling estate. In her opinion, Caparzo had strayed fromits primary purpose over time and Elisabetta planned to refocus on what she thought the estate does best: Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino.
She and winemaker Massimo Bracalente poured time (and money) into reviving the estate, with the goal of making wines that were inspired by Tuscan tradition but used the best technology available to produce grand wines. You know the rest of the story—Caparzo is seen as an unqualified success. 2013 may be their best vintage yet, too!
Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2013 750ML ($44.95) $36 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 95 points “This cuts more of a broad swath than its peers, yet remains graveful, evoking strawberry, cherry, tobacco and stony mineral flavors. Long and dense in structure, with a tobacco- and under-brush-tinged finish. Best from 2021 through 2033.”
The 95 Point Spanish Gem Arrives in May
An old friend of mine makes a homemade shwarma that has forever ruined me for anything that comes from a restaurant. In the quest for a red wine that compliments and doesn’t muddle the flavors of meat, citrus and spice I finally tried the Corimbo from Bodegas la Horra. The 2012 is a unique balance of ripeness and lift, not weighty or overwhelming despite the drought conditions. Rain and cool nights in September prevented the Corimbo from being as concentrated as the 2011, and it benefits clearly and greatly. The wine shows definite dark fruit on the nose, but the elegance of the spiciness and brightness of the lighter body provides refreshment. Its structure is still impressive, just not overwhelming. I don’t often call Spanish wines “refreshing”, but the manner in which this wine complimented our Lebanese cuisine makes it a clear candidate for accompanying most meats off the grill. Served at cellar temperature, the Corimbo is a delicious summer red for any setting.
Bodegas La Horra Corimbo, Ribera del Duero 2012 750ML ($34.95) $28 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 95 points “Expressive nose of black fruit, cacao, coffee, medicinal herbs and earthy notes. Full-bodied with fine-grained, silky tannins. Rich and concentrated mid-palate here leads to a long, salty and cedar finish. A decadent yet refined wine. Drink now.”
Wine Advocate 92+ points “The 2012 Corimbo is pure Tempranillo from the Burgos part of Ribera del Duero (La Horra, Roa, Sotillo, Gumiel); it was fermented in stainless steel tanks, went through malo in French oak vats and matured in some 10-20% new oak barrels, mostly French but with some 20% American. After some 14 months, the wines are transferred from barriques to oak vats where they stay for a further six months. The color is bright ruby with a nose that shows red fruit and nicely integrated oak, with a spiciness that shows not only the usual vanilla and cinnamon, but also some more exotic aromas reminiscent of curry, plus plenty of wild flowers and Mediterranean herbs. 2012 was extremely dry, but there was around 20 liters of rain in each of the months of July, August and September, which clearly provided the much needed water to balance the grapes and provide fresher wines. This Corimbo clearly shows the profile of the growing season, and the wine is more floral and a little lighter with good freshness; it’s a more approachable wine. The oak is very nicely integrated and the wine is balanced, fresh and with medium body. A lighter, approachable style of Ribera del Duero.”
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 92 points “(aged for a year in new and used French and American oak) Deep ruby. A complex, highly perfumed bouquet evokes ripe dark berries, incense and vanilla, with a sexy floral overtone. Sweet, seamless and penetrating on the palate, offering intense blackberry and cherry-vanilla flavors that are given spine and sharpened by juicy acidity. Rich yet vibrant, with excellent closing thrust and harmonious tannins building slowly and lending structure.”
Montfaucon’s Traditional Take
The whites are all built around Clairette, a grape that seems to hold onto a palpable sense of minerality even in the hot climes of around Lirac. The reds are blends as you’d expect, but often vinified and then aged in concrete tanks to preserve freshness and delicacy. The result is that even in warm vintages there’s a distinct digestibility to them. When you factor in their pricing, they become can’t miss offerings for anyone who longs for older style wines from the Rhone.
In Stock Now:
Baron de Montfaucon Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2014 750ML ($39.95) $33 special, 18 Bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 89 points “This has a lovely, silky feel along the edges, while the core of dark plum and boysenberry fruit notes stretches out through the anise- and shiso leaf-tinged finish. Drink now through 2022.”
Wine Spectator 91 points “Youthfully taut, with singed alder and cedar notes framing the core of red currant and cherry fruit paste flavors. Light savory and sanguine accents emerge steadily through the finish. A light echo of brick dust at the end keeps this in the old-school camp. Best from 2018 through 2025. 490 cases made.”
Chateau de Montfaucon Cotes du Rhone 2015 750ML ($14.95) $11.90 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 90 points “The assemblage of the 2015 Cotes du Rhone includes only 50% Grenache, with the balance made up of 20% Syrah, 15% Carignan, 10% Cinsault and 5% Counoise. Perhaps as a result, it displays ample complexity on the nose and palate, with scents and flavors reminiscent of thyme, lavender and bay leaf alongside cherry and red berry fruit. It’s medium-bodied, with silky tannins and a long, dry finish that elevates it well above ordinary. No, it’s not a massive blockbuster, but it’s a fine, elegant, unoaked table wine at a bargain price.”
Chateau de Montfaucon Baron Louis Cotes du Rhone 2014 750ML ($24.95) $19 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 91 points “Stylish, with a perfumed mix of raspberry, cassis, bergamot, rooibos tea and mineral notes. Offers a long, silky finish. Shows lots of charm. Drink now through 2021. 3,450 cases made.”
Zena Crown’s 2014 Estate Pinot
Arriving Friday, May 4th
Zena Crown Vineyard Slope Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2014 750ML ($119.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Josh Raynolds 94 points “(84% new French oak) Deep vivid ruby. Heady, smoke-accented red and blue fruit preserve, spicecake, vanilla and floral pastille scents show excellent clarity and pick up notes of exotic Indian spices and cola with air. Sweet and expansive in the mouth, offering concentrated, alluringly sweet black raspberry, boysenberry and cherry cola flavors that show appealing spiciness and a touch of smoky minerality. Weighty yet surprisingly graceful in style, finishing with powerful thrust and velvety, slowly building tannins that fold quickly into the plush fruit.”
The 2015 Arrives in September
Marchesi Antinori Tignanello Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 98 points “Fantastic aromas of dark berries, sandalwood and Spanish cedar that are ever so deep. Full body, an incredible spin of polished tannins and bright acidity. Incredible depth. Like looking over the edge of a skyscraper. Powerful and structured. A great Tignanello. A little more sangiovese than usual. Best since the legendary 1997?
Thanks for reading!